Why I Walk : Marta Reidel

In 2001, Marta was diagnosed with lupus. At the time she felt relieved not knowing what lupus was and figured since it didn't make the news that it wasn't something to feel concerned about, saying it was "only lupus."

She found herself saying "I was so wrong!" Soon after finding out more about this mystery disease, life as she knew it changed slowly. At first, it was a subtle deterioration, but it didn't take long before reality smacked her in the face. Gone were the days when she was constantly being told "but you don't look sick". Now, not only did she look it, but she felt it! She had always lived by the rule of work hard and play hard. Marta was in the catering and hospitality business. Long hours, heavy lifting and hot, stressful working conditions were part of the job description.

That was to be no more. Exhaustion was daily. Fluid retention, caused by the lupus attacking her kidneys, kept her bloated and swollen. She wore slippers because that was the only thing she could fit on her feet. Her labored breathing was a result of the damage done to her heart. Friends and family were used to Marta struggling for breath just to get through conversations. The minor aches became constant pain. She felt as though her life was stolen and replaced with days filled with doctors and appointments, blood work, tests and IV therapies, surgeries, hospital stays, medicines, and, of course, bills.

This all culminated in a hospital visit in November of 2011 that no one thought she would be returning from. She experienced complete renal failure that caused congestive heart failure that resulted in an ICU stay on life support for three weeks. Doctors and nurses gave Marta's family, who were at her bedside around the clock, a very bleak prognosis.

Now, after a long recuperation, including open heart surgery, with the love and support of family and friends, Marta is walking because she can, because it was thought she might never do it again, and because Marta wants to for as long as she is able to; and she prays that it's for a very long time. 

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